Former President Obama left the White House more than 14 months ago, but taxpayers are just now learning of how his State Department took U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund a group operated by left-wing mogul George Soros.
The stunning discovery was revealed by government watchdog group Judicial Watch via a Freedom of Information Act request. The request showed the U.S. Agency for International Development sending money to a Soros-backed group in Albania, purposed to help inform the citizenry of their own judicial processes.
Per Fox News:
The group, Judicial Watch, obtained 32 pages of records from the Justice Department this week through a May 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID.)
The new documents show USAID funds were sent through the agency’s Civil Society Project to back Soros’ left-wing “East West Management Institute” through USAID’s “Justice for All” campaign. USAID provided $8.8 million in 2016 to that campaign.
The Justice for All Project was designed to strengthen the effectiveness and transparency of the courts in Albania. The project aimed to increase citizens’ trust in the judiciary and a more efficient judicial system, according to USAID.
Judicial Watch said ,though, that money was used specifically to give the Albanian socialist government greater control of the judiciary system.
“The Obama administration quietly spent at least $9 million in U.S. taxpayers’ dollars in direct collusion with left-wing billionaire George Soros’ backing of a socialist government in Albania,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, per Fox News. “It is particularly outrageous that the State Department allowed the Soros operation to help direct taxpayer funds to other groups.”
“For decades, there has been broad bipartisan agreement in Washington, DC on the need to promote democracy and human rights abroad. Of late there has been an unfortunate and misguided effort to politicize this process,” a spokesperson for the Open Society Foundation said in a statement to Fox News. “The Open Society Foundations and the U.S. Government shared an interest in helping Albania and other similarly situated countries transition from communism and democracy, and in promoting an independent judiciary.”
The spokesperson added: “As the State Department stated in the documents Judicial Watch cited, the US embassy in Tirana ‘has not received any funds from the Open Society Foundation to support any projects or activities,’ nor has it ‘provided any funds to the Open Society Foundation to support their projects or activities.”
But another memo obtained by Judicial Watch from April 2016 shows that the U.S. Embassy in Tirana “sponsored” a survey along with Soros’s Open Society Foundation to measure Albanian citizens’ “knowledge, support, and expectations on justice reform.” The poll, according to Judicial Watch, did not specify the type of reform the Soros group was seeking, but the survey reported that 91 percent of respondents either “fully support” or “somewhat support” the need for judicial reform in Albania.
Records dated February 2017 show that the State Department used taxpayer funds to co-sponsor a second poll with the Open Society Foundation.
“The Public Affairs Section and the Open Society Foundation Survey each provided funding to a local organization to conduct a public opinion poll on attitudes toward the Judicial Reform effort,” the February report, reviewed by Fox News, read.
According to the report, a group of six Republican lawmakers, led by Senator Mike Lee asking former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to investigate charges that the U.S. government was using taxpayer funds to assist the Soros group.
“Sen. Lee was not satisfied with the State Department’s response to his letter about USAID funding for international progressive institutions that spread leftist ideas at tax payer expense,” a spokesperson for Lee said, per Fox News. “He hopes the next Secretary of State will put an end to these payments.”